UN: Organized Crime, Corrupt Officials Responsible for Rise of Enforced Disappearances in Mexico

Organized crime and corrupt officials are responsible for the rising numbers of enforced disappearances in Mexico, a United Nations (UN) committee said on April 12.

“Organized crime has become a central perpetrator of disappearance in Mexico, with varying degrees of participation, acquiescence, or omission by public servants,” the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances said in a report.

The Committee said that the nearly absolute impunity facilitated the “alarming trend of rising enforced disappearances.”

More than 95,000 people were registered as disappeared as of November 2021, according to the report.

Of those disappeared, 112 were added during the Committee’s 11-day visit to 13 states in Mexico in November.

The reported noted that according to the National Register of Disappeared Persons, there were 8,000 new cases each year in the past five years.

While men between 15 and 40 years old were the most common victims, figures from the national registry showed a significant increase in the disappearances of boys and girls, as well as of adolescents and women, the report found.

The report noted that the disappearances worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Victims and authorities also reported disappearances for the purpose of trafficking and sexual exploitation,” the report said.

Some human rights defenders have disappeared because of their participation in searches and fighting against disappearances, the Committee said.

The Committee also expressed concern for more than 30 journalists who disappeared between 2003 and 2021. None has been located.

The Committee said that they also heard allegations of disappearances in prisons and migration centers and allegations that migrants illegally detained at unknown locations had their mobile phones taken by perpetrators.

The Committee urged Mexico to implement a national policy to prevent and eradicate enforced disappearances and to strengthen the search and investigation processes, among its other recommendations.


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